FLAT-FACED DOG PROBLEM
Are judges or show breeders to blame for deadly deformities like brachycephalic breathing problems? See photos and enter your comment (below) on why we do this to some breeds?
Ukrainian puppy mills?!! June 13, 2020 over 30 French Bulldogs died in a flight from the Ukraine (Eastern Europe) to Toronto. The deaths were too horrible to describe but the significance of those exaggerated flat faces scream for attention.
Let’s start with the defining question - why are we importing dogs? The answer is disturbing. The Frenchies were imported to meet the demand for a breed popular with the public but not with puppy mills, thus the shortage in America. Hobby or Show Breeder… Think about that!! Many breeds have become so extreme in features detrimental to health that even the puppy mills avoid them!
Why? Because the pet shops don’t want legally liable health complaints from customers. But there is also a subliminal message here because dog show judges shape demand...
If you are a judge who genuinely loves dogs, you understand your responsibility to all breeds. If you are a dog breeder you have a duty to create healthy dogs that can live a normal life.
Rational people want a dog that can breathe, not one that is grotesquely “cute.”
All wolves, foxes, coyotes and normal dogs - have a foreface (muzzle) approximately ½ (one half) as long as the cranium (backskull). Think about it, a predator needs brain power to successfully seek and capture its prey. It also needs powerful jaws with which to grasp and hold that prey.
If you own a Bulldog, Chihuahua or Pug, you might dispute that statement, explaining that you hand feed your precious pet. But wait, any carnivore should be able to eat on its own. If breeders had not deformed his predecessors, your dog wouldn’t have that cute little nose thing. YOU may think it is darling, definitive… Most people see it as a deformity.
If we (breeders and judges) had not “helped” his forebearers acquire with that deformity, they would not have survived in nature. They would have starved to death. Don’t say they could’ve eaten bugs. Put your realist hat on and come along to the sad truth.
Foreshortened muzzles are a lifelong miserable deformity with a descriptive medical term:
(instant information) ii Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
Then ask yourself this question: why are we importing dogs when the USDA reported an estimated “167,388 breeding dogs” are concentrated in the Midwest?
The simple answer is that many American puppy mills no longer breed brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs. Did you know that some dogs require permanent tracheostomies to bypass their distorted airways so that they can breathe normally? Is that what you want? Even the puppy mill wants reasonably healthy breeders if for no other reason, to reduce vet bills.
American show breeders struggle to produce dogs that can win in the show ring and still breathe normally but admittedly, it is difficult. Judges who forgive dogs with such foreshortened muzzles that they ‘run out of air’ when gaiting should be privately and politely censured. Judges who continue to award exaggeration instead of conformity to the AKC standard should be publicly blamed.
Most Breed Standards take health into consideration because they were written before dog show fads destroyed many “breeding programs.”
Judges can only judge what is presented BUT shame on the judge who awards any dog that is not 100% functional. If the entire class is unsound or afflicted with a health problem, judges should withhold ribbons. Then consider explaining to ringside why, for the health of the breed, you felt compelled to do so.
Some exhibitors will have a field day on social media. But YOU are the judge and the BREED is more important than avoiding conflict or ruining your chances of being hired again.
The real breeders and professional handlers will respect you for putting the breed first. They are the people who, like you, strive to ensure the health of the sport by showing healthy dogs. If you have read this far and you’re shaking your head side-to-side, stop and ask yourself –
Can we, as show breeders and dog lovers do less than the puppy mills to protect canine health???
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